Rising Sons Deli
JM ate the BBQ red pork with a lemonade.
John ate the pad thai with a soda.
Nichole ate the kao poun with a Thai iced coffee.
We split an appetizer platter.
The bill was $35, or $11.67/person, plus tip.
JM gave Rising Sons Deli an A-; John gave Rising Sons Deli a B; Nichole gave Rising Sons Deli an A (see our grading rubric).
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So, Rising Sons Deli is not actually the kind of deli with a glass counter full of cold cuts and salads. We guess their name is a relic of their previous locations. The decor is enthusiastic, all primary colors, DIY collages of jazz greats and shiny sticky stars, and the kind of fixtures that used to sit in Rubin's front window on Monona Drive for years and years. The best tables are in the "alley" - a skylit gap between ivied brick walls - but it had rained the day we came for lunch, so we stayed inside.
We got a five-appetizer plate that featured our customary rangoon (very crabby, smooth cream cheese); an egg roll (average); a spring roll (thicker than most, stuffed with rice noodles and crispy veg); a chicken skewer (very tender white meat in a peanut marinade); and fried beef jerky. The jerky was our favorite, being chewy, not too salty, with a very meaty flavor still sizzling in its light oil so that when we ripped it apart it almost burned our fingers. As for drinks, we liked having a choice of Coke or Pepsi products, but were disappointed in the tinny-tasting Thai iced coffee.
John went for the pad thai, a large portion at a good price. He found it very tasty, neither too sweet nor salty, and ultimately good comfort food.
JM's BBQ red pork was also good; the meat tore cleanly under his teeth but was so tender it was in danger of falling apart before then. The drizzle of red sauce on top was not that compelling, though the thin red dipping sauce (same as what came with our appetizers) was tangy and good. He even finished the fresh steamed carrots and broccoli which were crisp and flavorful.
The kao poun was a great bowl of noodle soup as big as Nichole's head. Mild ground pork (and lots of it) sat atop a pile of rice noodles in a coconut-milk-based broth glistening bright orange with fat. A lump of curry paste in the center, just below the surface, once stirred in, made the soup even richer. Nichole found her appetite had escaped well before the broth and noodles were gone, and started fishing out the best bits of meat, carrots, onions, and herbs, abandoning the bit that was not quite worth packing in a takeout box.
Earlier, off-list visits to Rising Sons yielded an excellent beef laab and pretty good pho. We liked the use of Creamsicle kisses as after-meal sweet. The only downsides we could find were that they don't take credit and that mosquitoes love their front window. We miss Gumseng, but Rising Sons does pretty much what they did, maybe even better.